How can I make sure others are aware of what to do?

Parents need to tell others about the right first aid for their child. It is best to put it in writing. Parents can use one of the Seizure Action Plans in this website. Or they can create their own “what to do” list. The child can help, too.

Numbered, step-by-step directions are good. Also tell people what they can do to comfort a child. And tell them what person they should call after a seizure.

Everyone who spends periods of time with the child should have these directions. This includes babysitters, school staff, relatives, and family friends. It is important they know what to do when parents are not around.

There should be phone numbers and other ways to reach parents. There should be a name and phone number for the child’s doctor.

FIRST AID FOR SEIZURES16, 17

Seizure Type

What to Do

G E N E R A L I Z E D

TONIC CLONIC or
GRAND MAL

loss of consciousness

  • Move child away from hard, sharp, or hot objects.
  • Put something soft under child's head. Remove glasses and loosen anything around the neck. Turn child on one side to help with breathing.
  • Do not put anything in the child's mouth. Do not give liquids or medicines during or right after the seizure.
  • Do not try to hold the child's tongue.
  • Do not restrain the child’s movements unless they put the child in danger.
  • Reassure the child as he or she is becoming conscious.
  • Usually it is not necessary to call 911 if it is known the child has epilepsy, and the seizure lasts a minute or two.
  • When to call for emergency aid:
    • This is the child's first seizure of unknown cause
    • Multiple seizures occur
    • The seizure lasts longer than five minutes
    • Afterwards the child is sick, injured, or doesn’t respond

ABSENCE or
PETIT MAL

loss of consciousness

  • Observe the child carefully.
  • Reassure the child if he or she is scared or confused.
  • Try to count and record episodes.
  • No first aid is necessary, but if this is the first absence seizure, medical evaluation is recommended.

MYOCLONIC
or
JERKS

no loss of consciousness

  • Speak calmly to the child and other children around.
  • If a child is walking, guide gently to a safe place.
  • Stay close until the seizure has ended and the child is completely aware of where he or she is and can respond normally when spoken to.
  • First aid is usually not needed. A child having a myoclonic seizure for the first time should receive a thorough medical evaluation.

TONIC, ATONIC
or
AKINETIC

loss of consciousness

  • Comfort the child and check to see if he or she is hurt. A medical check- up is recommended.
  • No immediate first aid is needed (unless there is an injury from a fall). If this is a first seizure of this type, the child should have a complete medical evaluation.

STATUS EPILEPTICUS

loss of consciousness

  • This condition requires immediate medical attention. Call for emergency medical help.
  • Do not attempt to transport an actively seizing child in your car unless an ambulance is not available.
  • If the child has had this type of seizure before, follow advice specifically given by the child’s doctor.

P A R T I A L

SIMPLE

no loss of consciousness

  • No first aid necessary. If this is the child’s first seizure, a medical evaluation is recommended.

COMPLEX

loss of consciousness

  • Speak calmly to the child and other children around.
  • If the child is walking, guide gently to a safe place.
  • Stay close until the seizure has ended and the child is completely aware of where he or she is and can respond normally when spoken to.
  • Pay attention to how long the seizure lasts; most partial seizures last a minute or two.
  • A child may be confused for up to half an hour afterwards. Longer periods of confusion may mean that a seizure is still active and the child needs medical attention.

(printable version of table Adobe Acrobat Icon)

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